Influence of Anticipation and Motor-Motor Task Performance on Cutting Biomechanics in Healthy Men

J Athl Train. 2020 Aug 1;55(8):834-842. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-569-18.


Context: Biomechanical analyses of cutting tasks have demonstrated kinematic differences associated with the noncontact knee-injury risk when the movement direction is unanticipated. Motor-motor dual tasks occur within dynamic environments and change the demand for attentional resources needed to complete athletic maneuvers, which may contribute to injury risk.

Objective: To investigate the influence of anticipation and motor-motor task performance on cutting biomechanics.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Laboratory.

Patients or other participants: A total of 32 healthy, recreationally active men (age = 23.1 ± 3.6 years, height = 180.0 ± 7.0 cm, mass = 81.3 ± 17.3 kg) who self-reported regular participation in cutting sports.

Intervention(s): Participants performed a 45° side-step cut on the dominant limb in a random order of conditions: anticipation (anticipated, unanticipated) and task (no ball throw, ball fake, ball throw).

Main outcome measure(s): Triplanar trunk, hip, and knee angles were assessed throughout the stance phase using 3-dimensional motion capture. Data were analyzed using a time series of means calculated from initial contact to toe-off (0%-100%) with 90% confidence intervals. Mean differences between conditions were identified as regions of nonoverlapping confidence intervals, and those that occurred during the region of peak vertical ground reaction force (0%-25%) are presented.

Results: Regardless of anticipation, attending to a ball (ball throw) resulted in more trunk extension (range = 2.9°-3.7°) and less lateral trunk flexion toward the cutting direction (range = 5.2°-5.9°). Planning to attend to a ball (ball fake) resulted in less lateral trunk flexion toward the cutting direction (4.7°). During unanticipated cutting, more trunk rotation away from the cutting direction was observed when attending to a ball (range = 5.3°-7.1°). The interaction of anticipation and task had a similar influence on sagittal- and frontal-plane trunk position.

Conclusions: Motor-motor task performance and its interaction with anticipation induced an upright, neutral trunk position during side-step cutting, which has been associated with the risk for noncontact knee injury. Promoting task complexity during rehabilitation and injury-prevention programs may better prepare individuals to succeed when performing high-risk athletic maneuvers.

Keywords: attentional resources; dual task; kinematics; lower extremity; trunk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / etiology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / psychology
  • Anticipation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Movement
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Torso